17 of the 23 new COVID-19 cases reported on July 9th are under the age of 25, according to recent findings.
According to the National Health Emergency Team (NPHET), people under the age of 25 now account for 77% of new COVID-19 cases in Ireland. This comes after the easing of restrictions which allowed restaurants, pubs, and gyms to re-open.
This is the first time Public Health Officials have seen such a concentration of cases in young people and NPHET say that there is clear evidence that “socialisation led to transmission for most of these cases.”
In a briefing last night, acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn stated that “It’s not about targeting any age groups in the population, it’s not about blame, it’s about protecting each other.” He added that people can get on with the activities they want, provided they are carried out safely. Glynn advised that people think twice before going out, adhere to guidelines and to learn to live with the virus as it won’t be gone in a fortnight’s time “If we go back to living like we did in January, it’s only a matter of time before we’re facing a significant problem with this disease.”
At the same briefing, it was announced that 15 of the 23 cases were “directly or indirectly” related to travel. While Dr. Glynn said that these travel-related cases were not all under the age of 25, there was some overlap and NPHET reiterated that all non-essential overseas travel should be avoided.
In mid-April, when the virus was at its peak, people under 25 made up a minute number of cases. In the second week of April, the CSO reported that there were 4,033 cases nationwide, 302 of which were under the age of 25, only 7.4%. The next week only 9% of cases were under the age of 25. With the recent surge of cases in young people the R (reproduction) number is above one. An R number is less than one means that the epidemic is dying, but when it is above one it signals a spread.
Speaking to RTÉ Radio’s News at One yesterday, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative for COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarro said that Ireland’s data surrounding the virus was promising, however, he is worried how the world will cope over the next six months. He warns that “It’s not just the number of cases, it’s how well prepared you are for a second wave.”
Emma Hanrahan, Reporter.